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Is it just me or....? kind of long but would like your imput.

Posted by NotGoingThere (My Page) on
Tue, Jan 8, 02 at 10:02

My daughter goes to one of the finest public schools in our city, and she is making wonderful grades.She is in second grade. my 'problem' is that her teachers(she has several special classes as she is doing so well in some classes she gets to go to third grade reading, math, etc.) are always calling me, sometimes two and three times a week with the pettiest little things. One time it was she wasn't being quiet enough. The next time it was she was being a bit disruptive. The next time it was talking in class. Then it was she got her name on the board. I even got a call the FIRST day of school because she wouldn't'settle down' enough.
Is it just me or are they a bit too---something? Petty,maybe? Now, I know I'm not there supervising every little move she makes, and I know at times she can get pretty rambuncious, but the past two years I have heard nothing but good about her. Her grades are as high as ever but I am getting freaked out by these constant calls!I mean, I know kids need to settle down and behave at school but it is hard for a little kid to sit for a majority of the day. I realise she may be causing a BIT--and I stress BIT --of distraction, but to call me all the time?It's almost like they have absolutely no power of authority or something, like THEY don't want to deal with it-a class disruption caused by talking! It kind of leads me to believe it could be her teacher.I don't know. We still have a bit to go in the school year, I kind of dread it in a way because I fear getting a call over something dumb!It used to be when the phone rang from the school I always got this lump in my throat thinking, oh my, what is wrong with my daughter? Now it is , What did she do this time?
Let's not mention the silly messages I get on my answering machine!(Same things as above...)
The only time before this year I ever got a call from the school was when she was sick or spilled chocolate milk on her clothes or something-something legitimate.
Now I agree that kids need to listen and learn while they are at school, bit this just seems a bit excessive, to say the least.I just don't honestly believe she is causing THAT much trouble. I remember being a kid-barely but I do.
I hope they don't suggest medication-that won't be happening. She's just a kid. I have talked to about it- what more can I do? Have any of you ever had this trouble or anything like it? Please advise- I'm at my wit's end!!!!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Is it just me or....? kind of long but would like your imput.

I can't believe I put Imput! ARR!!! ;)IN PUT!~


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RE: Is it just me or....? kind of long but would like your imput.

I think you should ask them. Schedule a conference. If they are that communicative over the phone, they should be happy to meet face to face. And pose the question "Why are you telling me this? Is there something I should be doing with her to help?" And ask for specifical examples of her behavior beyond talkative or disruptive. Ask if it is more than the normal squirmies for 2nd graders.

And is it the 2nd or 3rd grade teachers who are calling you? Because maybe the 3rd grade teachers have higher expectations of behavior to go along with the higher acedemics.

That puts the conversation in a more productive light. Not just "there is a small problem" but "what do you want me to do about it?" Then if they are just being petty, you'll know.

In short, there is still half a year to go, clear it up now, go see the teachers.


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RE: Is it just me or....? kind of long but would like your imput.

Thanks for responding, Stephanie!Well, actually, I have talked over and over with the teacher. It is the second grade(her teacher for most of her classes)teacher that is calling me. The third grade teacher got on the phone after the sceond grade teacher told me she wanted to talk to me. I have offered to go to have a meeting, to see what we could do(I wanted this stuff OVER with pretty much as soon as it started ) and I always get, Well, have a talk with her about it. I have talked. and talked. and talked until I am blue in the face. I have taken away privliges and TV and things she likes.(Trying to do he right thing) Then my husband started noticing that she was ALWAYS in her room or couldn't do this or that(he gets home later than I do) and was wondering. I was like, I got another call today. AGAIN? Yes, again. He brought this whole idea up about it could be the teacher,as I thought - and this is the important point- that a teacher would not waste het time as well as the parent to call me about a menial little thing like this.Or would she? LOL!One day she called me and told me something,it was a small little thing,I think she was squirming in her seat or something(my husband and I both think this is a dumber than dumb reason to call a parent) and I asked the teacher, Well, what do you suggest we do? and her answer? I don't know. I have written notes(NEVER anything nasty), asking the teacher to SPECIFICALLY(and I write it in big letters ) pinpoint exactly what she did wrong but all I get is She was talking. Or she was this or that. Because I don't want my kid causing trouble at school, but they can't tell me anything more than that. They call me but it never sounds that major or important. Personally, I think they are being a bit rigid and petty, but I wanted to know if it was 'just me.' Thanks! :)
PS - Is there anything I should say? Anything specific I should bring up? I don't want to seem mean or anything.


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RE: Is it just me or....? kind of long but would like your imput.

I'm not sure why you think this is petty. Teachers are very busy people and I've never known one to take the time to call a parent frequently just to 'chat' over insignificant occurances. If I were getting calls like this on a regular basis, I'd be pretty concerned. Speaking as a teacher, bright children aren't immune from being disruptive in class--some are actually worse because they're more likely to be bored. Also, I'd be willing to bet that they're not calling you over every problem--so you may only be hearing the tip of the iceberg. Sounds to me that there might be a serious problem here and--sorry--but the attitude you expressed seems to indicate that you're not taking this very seriously at all. By supporting the idea that it's hard for kids to sit still, that it's okay for them to be a 'little disruptive', you're letting your daughter know that her behavior is okay with you. One child who is only a little disruptive and needs frequent correcting from the teacher takes away from the entire class's opportunity to learn

She's got a lot of school years left--now is the time to take care of a problem if one is developing. If you have no confidence in the teacher/school system, the why don't you find and consult with a competitant educational consultant that you trust and get a second opinion on your daughter's situation.

Just a quick anecdote here. My sister is raising a foster child who is absolutely brilliant--but he's a terror in class. Finally, in desparation, they took him to a nationally known school psycologist (who fortunately happened to be a relative) for an evaluation. Some serious problems were identified after days of testing, medication was indicated and frankly, it was the best decision they could have made. It didn't turn him into a zombie, but it did calm him down enough that he could direct his focus and become the wonderful student he had the potential for being. Medication certainly isn't right in every case, but if that ends up being the recommendation of a well-qualified dr, you might at least give it some serious consideration. But don't avoid a consultation because you're afraid of med.--your little one deserves to be the best she can be, to learn and enjoy school so she can become the happy, well-educated adult she deserves to become.

One other suggestion I'd make--if it's possible for you to observe her class without her knowing you're there, or perhaps for them to make a video for you to see how she interacts--that might be helpful for you in order to decide whether the teacher is going overboard or if your daughter is indeed having some problems during the school day.

Good luck to you both.


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RE: Is it just me or....? kind of long but would like your imput.

It seems to me that being squirmy, talkative, or not settling down are all things most easily dealt with on the spot. Trying to deal with it several hours later at home would not be productive. I wonder if what the teacher is trying to get from you is how do YOU quiet her down when she is too giddy. Rather than you trying to get ideas from the teacher, maybe the teacher is trying to get ideas from you. But not communicating that too well.


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RE: Is it just me or....? kind of long but would like your imput.

Skye, maybe you didn't read my letter completely... I have punished my daughter for something that she may not be doing. There is absolutely no way I let anything go..if her teacher calls me there is some serious dealing with it. For the longest time my husband was coming home and my daughter was always in her room. Because I told her no tv or videos etc and I usually put a week on for every time she acted up. I don't take a teacher calling me lightly, but these days it is getting hard not to.
My sister in law is a teacher and she thinks this is beyond obsessive, but I wanted some outside opinions.I realise teachers are busy busy people who are over their heads most of the time with work, not to mentionhome life. But to call me over squirming in her seat, or she talked out of line, or some LITTLE thing like that that I am TRYING to remedy,it's crazy. I mean, this is a school with a million LITTLE kids.They aren't soldiers. What I am trying to say is that kids are going to do that, and it is NOT okay, but it is going to happen.I KNOW this is happening. Call me when she is sick or hurt.
The idea of me monitoring her without her not knowing is a good idea that I never thought of.


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RE: Is it just me or....? kind of long but would like your imput.

There are probably around 25 kids in the class and I bet that each and every one has talked out of turn at some point. The teacher doesn't call every parent over every little thing, but if there is a pattern of misbehavior she may go out of her way to report things to YOU that she would not report to a child that was not frequently misbehaving. That said, I think your child may need a professional evaluation by a physician. Most kids in 2nd or 3rd grade can sit still enough to function in school. The teacher appears to be trying to tell you something about your child's behavior. I think you take it seriously, but perhaps it is beyond the scope of you being able to deal with it alone. Perhaps the doctor can help.

Skye has a good suggestion also about observing from a distance. It might give you some perspective.

Mommabear


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RE: Is it just me or....? kind of long but would like your imput.

The teacher is saying that she wants reenforcment for what she is teaching and expecting at school. She also is letting you know what is not going well so that both of you can try to figure out how to help your child cooperate. One child who will not settle down can make learning (and teaching) difficult for the whole class. As a parent, I would expect to have frequent, serious talks about behavior with my child. I would also analyze any changes that I might make to help my child. Is bedtime early enough? Are breakfast and the lunck box nutritious? Are food allergies a problem? Etc.


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RE: Is it just me or....? kind of long but would like your imput.

I have read your posts--and even though you say you've punished your daughter, you defend her behavior at every turn. Re-read your posts as if they were from someone else and see what you think. You allow that this teacher is responsible for many children and still is taking time out of her very busy day to contact you frequently. That should be a red flag. You also say you're TRYING to remedy the situation (apparently without 100% success)--that should be a red flag. You ask why a teacher would bother to call over squirming in her seat--I'd guess that the teacher has noticed your defensive attitude and is tactfully trying not to be too confrontational when she speaks with you because she's more interested in helping your daughter than starting a fight with you. When it comes down to it, if your daughter is having a problem in school--and yes, I'm making an assumption that I do think you should verify with a second opinion--the person who should be the most concerned about correcting it should be the parent.

I'm really not trying to hurt your feelings here, but the important issue is your child and her success in school. She's too young to start down the path of being a discipline problem. Count yourself lucky that this teacher is willing to take the time to try to work with you to remedy a situation that could turn into a major problem if not remedied--and become her best friend. Not literally, but take the time to visit with the teacher with the attitude--'how can we work together to 'fix' this. If a few days go by and you don't hear from her, call her to see if your daughter has been doing better and deserves praise and recognition for trying. Set up a system of notes that will keep you informed on a daily basis of your daughters efforts to improve.

Don't just punish your daughter, offer her situations where she can practice proper 'sitting' still, 'not being disruptive' behavior. Take her to children's theater presentations, or concerts, or even the circus--and explain the importance of sitting still and being quiet so she and others around her can enjoy the show--and expect her to follow through. While you're there, observe carefully. Have a non-confrontational signal to use when she starts getting tooo restless--a calm hand on her shoulder perhaps followed by a quick hug if she stops squirming. She's not too young to be able to do that, you know--I used to take my daughter to the Philadelphia Ballet, the theater, and orchestra concerts from the time she was 4 and she was expected to behave properly while there--she did.

My very best wishes that you all find a wonderful solution to this problem so that your little girl can go on about the most important job she has now--learning to enjoy learning.


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RE: Is it just me or....? kind of long but would like your imput.

Thanks for all of your replies. I really feel like I am in a dill of a pickle here, though. I did try to set up some notes(as they had in kindergarten-each DAY there was a progress report with a smiley face, sad face, or the like. I asked her, right when we started getting the calls, could we please do a note system? And she said no we aren't going to do that. Her words. I thought maybe if I could hear about her progress on a daily basis we could nip it in the bud sooner. As soon as I can get my husband off for a day so we can go, I plan on doing the sneak and look and just see for myself. I will let you know what is happening. I don't doubt for a minute she may be doing things but is it really enough for a call home? THAT is what I am trying to figure out. What if I worked as a doctor or nurse or some other heavily important job? Would they put me on the phone while I am trying to save someones life to tell me she was talking? LOL! That's what I am trying to say.
I'm not offended by anyones' comments, you go to a forum, you open yourself up to whoever decides to post.I agree, this is a serious problem that I assure you I don't take lightly. I live near my family and my husbands family and they take her to do things like movies and plays and to the little things like that and they always say she is well behaved. Because I told them, if she acts up you let me know! I don't think it is family partiality, either, as some of the other grandkids get their butts spanked if they misbehave and my daughter is no different.That's what is puzzling me. SHe is fine at home, and everywhere else but at school. I don't know if it is the environment or the teacher. Or my daughter. I am going to do the sneak and look as soon as I can, hopefully sometime this week, and I will let you know what I see. I don't know what to expect.I want to see if the teacher is over reacting or if there really is a problem.I'll keep you posted! Wish me luck!


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RE: Is it just me or....? kind of long but would like your imput.

Well, yesterday afternoon my hubby came home early and I asked him if we could do this. He said yes to set it up so we could go. I called the school and asked if there was some way I could see my daughter in class without her knowing it. I asked if maybe I could go in the broom closet or something, I know it sounds dumb but where else can I go without her seeing me or knowing I'm there? Anyway, they said that was against school policy that I could not be hiding out or spying that it would endanger learning and is a possible security risk. I was shocked. I'm a parent with a kid that goes to this school! I asked if they had tapes in the class, although I am sure if they did I would have seen them by now. They have them on the busses but not in the rooms. Now what?


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RE: Is it just me or....? kind of long but would like your imput.

I don't think punishing her at home is the complete answer. I wonder how the teacher punishes her in class? Does she send her out of the room? Does she have to go to the principal's office or anything? Does she miss a recess or have a shortened recess? If the teacher verbally reprimands her but there are no immediate consequences, I don't think your daughter will learn to control her behavior. You should ask the teacher what she (the teacher) does to reprimand her during class. If the teacher is asking your for reinforcement, that would imply that the teacher is doing SOMETHING to make her behave in class, but what? My son's first grade teacher complained that his work was horribly messy. He had to bring home the classwork every night and redo it! When I asked her why he was bringing home so much work, she told me that he was rushing through the work because after the students finished their work, they had "free time" at the different learning stations. And he liked to go to the reading corner and look through the encyclopedias. He LOVED the encyclopedias. So every night, he had to bring work home and redo his assignment because while it was done correctly, it was almost illegible! I asked if she could help us by checking his work quickly (a glance) as soon as he put it on her desk and if unacceptable, make him redo it RIGHT THEN, thus delaying his trip to the reading corner. She was a wonderful teacher and worked with me on this! She'd just tell him, "J, you can do better than this! You can't go to the reading corner until you redo this neatly." This solved the rushed work problem within a few days. He quickly learned to do his work neatly the first time if he wanted to go look at the books! In this case, the problem was solved by dealing with it immediately. Her assistance with this taught him that it is much better to do it right the first time. Good luck to you!


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RE: Is it just me or....? kind of long but would like your imput.

Do you ever volunteer in the classroom? I volunteer for 3 hours every week. This has really helped me to see the behavior of my child and the other children and also what the teacher expects and how she handles things. I sit off in a corner and do busy work things for the teacher like cut, paste, sort, etc. When the students get involved in things, my son often forgets I am in the room so I get a pretty good idea of his classroom behavior. There is one child in the class that is told at least once every 2-3 minutes to sit down, be still or be quiet. It is VERY disruptive to the whole class. His parents had been told the same as you and were called numerous times about him talking too much and squirming. The teachers were hoping the parents would catch on without them having to come right out and say that this child is the worst child in the class and causing problems for the other students. Finally, they have begun sending him to the principals office after 2 warnings. Now he is in the office every day by 10am and does not return to the classroom. His parents just say he is a normal active 6 year old.

Have you tried discussing this with your child's teacher from last year? She may have some suggestions for you since she would be familiar with your child and the teacher. What about a conference with the school counselor? Maybe the counselor could observe the class for you and give you and/or the teacher some advice. Have you talked to other parents about this to see if they are also getting calls from the teacher or to see if their children have mentioned anything about your child's behavior?

Also, my husband IS a doctor working in the operating room keeping people alive. I hope that if my child is ever causing problems in school that the teacher will let us know, even if it takes a call to the hospital. If my husband is in a life-threatening emergency he would not take the call immediately, but you can bet he would handle it as soon as possible and even take time off work if necessary.


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RE: Is it just me or....? kind of long but would like your imput.

If your child has been in this school for kindergarten and first grade, you have heard nothing but good things about her, but now in second grade you are hearing constantly how disruptive she is, then I think you are right to be concerned.

The teachers may be absolutely correct that her behavior is way out of line. But there is some reason your daughter was fine the last two years and way out of line this year. Doesn't mean it's the teacher's or the school's fault, just means that her behavior has changed and noone knows why yet.

The first thing I'd do is talk to her first grade teacher. Ask the first grade teacher more questions about her behavior last year. If your daughter had problems last year, the first grade teacher should have brought it up in conference last year. If she's around other adults, as in church, daycare, etc., then I'd ask them if they've noticed anything unusual lately, too.

Our school would NEVER let you go in a broom closet. They also don't normally tape the class. I'd ask the administration instead if they would tape a section of class time and let you watch it. I feel sure that if our school taped a portion of the classtime, you'd have to come to school to watch it, possibly in the presence of an administrator.

One thing you might try - tell the teachers or administrator you want to work with them on this issue. Be sure you tell them you want to support them at home and help your daughter get the best education she can. But tell them that you can best help your daughter if you can see for yourself the behaviors causing the problem, do they have any suggestions. Be sure you don't project the attitude that you doubt it's really happening.

Lisa's suggestion about volunteering in the classroom is a great one, if you can work it out.

I had a similar situation with my daughter in preschool - which is certainly way different than elementary school. My daughter was a little stinker for about 2 months, it was like an alien just took over her body. Before that time, my friends used to call her the Stepford child because she was such an angel. Her preschool teachers even asked me if there were any home problems (in their shoes I would have been asking, too). It got to the point that they said if any other children joined the class they'd have to place her in a different class - they couldn't handle her with a full class load. I asked her Sunday School teachers, children's choir teachers, every adult who cared for her in a group setting - all said she was just fine. I changed preschools, all the problems disappeared overnight. To this day I don't know why. I was a little nervous for a couple of years, had a conference early in the school years just to check, and asked them to let me know immediately if they had any recurrence of problems, don't wait. She's never had anything but glowing reports since - she's in third grade now.

Good luck!


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RE: Is it just me or....? kind of long but would like your imput.

What's the big mystery here? You don't need to hide in a broom closet or anything so dramatic. Talking and disrupting are not petty or inconsequential issues. It's impossible to take information 'in' while you're talking 'out'. Learning to listen is a skill she will need all her life. Best to learn it now.


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RE: Is it just me or....? kind of long but would like your imput.

Thanks for replying. Scarlett, you didn't say anything we already know.
I've noticed something that I never touched upon with myself and Wazzup brought it to my attention. The principal is never brought into this. Frankly, I would think if this was such a big deal of stress for the teacher and it was repetitive and driving her nuts she would call the principal into it before now.
Also, as I mentioned before, my family and my husbands family take her places all the time and she behaves. Also, my husbands sister is a teacher,of the SAME GRADE I might add, and she thinks the teachers behavior is a bit much.
Also, I have tried to go and look for myself in secret but they won't let me. I think this is stupid. I want to see for myself.
Something else that I see here is that, while there SEEMS to be a problem at school, theer are no other problems elsewhere with her and it has been THIS year with THIS teacher ALL the time. NONE of the people that have responded to my post(while I thank you for responding) have even CONSIDERED that the problem may indeed lie with the TEACHER. ANd they won't let me come and see for myself in secret? (If I'm there and she knows she's being watched by me or her dad naturally she will be good!)
I know it sounds as if I am defending,but sometimes you have to read between the lines.
I am going to see what I can do. I can't volunteer as I have a job and other obligations but if they don't let me see (through tape or whatever)I am going to take her out and maybe switch schools. I don't know. SHe's smart(straight a's) and very sweet- if she's definately doing something I will deal with it but if she is simply being picked on, and I do believe it can happen, even with a teacher, that can't happen.


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RE: Is it just me or....? kind of long but would like your imput.

I doubt that the teacher is deliberately picking on your child. She has a whole class of kids to deal with and I am sure that she does not like to call parents and tell them that their child is misbehaving in any way. Most people avoid confrontation if at all possible.

If the teacher is taking the time to call you it is not just ONE incident, but rather a pattern of incidents. Try to step back and piece together the PATTERN of incidents. While one incident of talking out of turn is not terrible, a pattern of constantly talking out of turn indicates an inappropriate behavior pattern for a second grader. Period!

As parents it is hard for us to hear criticism of our children. It feels like criticism of US! But if you are to help your daughter get over her problem you need to acknowledge that there is one, and ask for help from professionals to solve it. I understand that you HAVE tried to solve the problem yourself, but what you have done hasn't worked.

Ask your pediatrician for help. Not every behavior issue needs to be addressed with medication. I am sure your pediatrician has seen this before and can help you out. If not, maybe he can refer you to someone else. A professional can help her figure out some strategies for staying on track in school. Maybe something you haven't thought of. Your daughter is old enough to participate in overcoming her problem. I am not talking about long term counseling, rather short term behavior modification.

I bet that she WANTS to behave in school, but does not have the skills to do so. However, as long as you continue to write off the problem as something that can be corrected by sending her to her room she will not get the help she needs.

Mommabear


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RE: Is it just me or....? kind of long but would like your imput.

It is now becoming more obvious to me that YOU are not seeing the whole picture. You claim that no one that posted has even considered that the teacher may be the problem. Please go back and read this entire post with an open mind and without the chip on your shoulder. You have managed to discount everything that we have said that places blame on the teacher. Many people (including myself) have responded with suggestions that do not place the blame on your daughter. I suggested you talk to counselors and other teachers that know your child's teacher better. That suggestion was to find out if it were the teacher that has a problem. I suggested that you talk to other parents to see if they were also being bombarded with calls from this teacher (meaning the teacher would be the problem). I suggested you check to see if other kids had noticed that the teacher picks on your child more frequently than the others and for no apparent reason. I suggested you volunteer in the classroom to see what this teacher expects of the children. None of those suggestions are placing the blame entirely on your child. In fact, I was more skeptical of the teacher's behavior than your child's behavior. However, you have managed to only see criticism of your child in all of these suggestions. The first response to your post suggested that the 3rd grade teachers might have too high of expectations for a second grade child. This criticizes the teacher not your child. The second response to your post suggested getting an outside professional opinion from someone you trust since you have no confidence in the school and to observe without her knowledge so that you can see if the teacher is going overboard. Again, looking for fault in the teacher. The third post points out that the teacher may be looking to you for advice and is not communicating too well. Another criticism of the teacher, not your child.

After reading several of your replies I am now getting the feeling that you think your child is perfect and could not possibly have any problems so it has to be the teacher. You have a job and "other obligations" that prevent you from dealing with this so the school just needs to lay off and leave your child alone. You don't seem to want to do anything but disagree with the teacher and complain about the situation. Something constructive needs to be done. You may have to try several things before finding out the real problem and how to remedy it. This is not going to fix itself and it will not be fixed overnight. Like I said before, if my child were having problems at school (not blaming your child here - it could be the teacher that is the CAUSING the problem but it is still your child HAVING the problem) I would make time to find out exactly what is going on. If it is your child, it needs to be handled appropriately. If it is the teacher, you still have an obligation to your child to see that it is handled appropriately. Whether it is the teacher or your child, it is not going to get any better without more cooperation and time from you. Your excuse of "job and other obligations" makes me wonder where your priorities really are.


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RE: Is it just me or....? kind of long but would like your imput.

Here's what I'm thinking. Sort of along Mommabear's thought.

I think you need more info from the teacher, and should press her on specific points. It's possible the teacher is overreacting, it's possible the teacher's expectations of your daughter are too high because of her intelligence; it's possible your daughter is fidgeting more because school is getting harder or easier or she doesn't like the teacher or something; it's possible the teacher is not a very good disciplinarian; it's possible the teacher just always feels she has to complain about something. ANYTHING is possible, frankly.

I think you need more info. Ask some specific questions, and insist on some specific answers.

Is your daughter having more problems in these areas than the other kids are? Is her behavior inappropriate to her age? Why is this something that is brought to YOUR attention? Can't the teacher handle it? What specifically has the teacher done to help your daughter w/ these behavior problems, and have they worked or not worked? What does the teacher do when your daughter fidgets? How does your daughter react? How disruptive IS this behavior to the other kids in the class? Do other teachers see this behavior? How do they respond? Does it work?

Then, with your daughter, I think your approach should not be to punish her, but rather to strategize with her and coach her. She's not willfully misbehaving, really, and besides, I think this sort of thing (small issues, classroom discipline) are best punished by the school, and that parents shouldn't be issuing punishment for them.

From you she needs techniques, conversation, discussion, practice. She's old enough that if she thinks a little and is in a nonjudgmental situation (and knows she's not going to get punished), she could explain why she fidgets, why she talks, what's going on in the classroom (maybe she's smart enough that she's done already and she'd bored). Then you can help her understand why that's a problem, and help her think of things she can do to cut down on the fidgeting.

Ask her the same sorts of questions you asked the teacher; her perceptions may give you valuable information.

You may also need to say to the teacher, "I want you to TAKE the authority over this. I'll back you up as you deal with this." My daughter cries a lot, easily. I told the teacher, feel free to tell her "that's enough, you have to be quiet now" in a very brusque manner. "Be dismissive," I said. "Don't feel you have to be all sympathetic. Insist with some emphasis that now she must get ahold of herself. Be stern, even. She'll get over it. I'll never come back and say you were too mean to my weeping child. If that doesn't work, then of course feel free to change it, but you can enforce discipline in this area and I'll back you up." Maybe the teacher needs that from you. Because frankly they shouldn't be calling you the FIRST DAY of school because she doesn't settle down. If they can't handle a rambunctious 2nd grade on the first day, they do have a bit of a problem. By day 3, perhaps there's an indication of a pattern. Jeez, was she swinging from the fluorescent lights?

I also think you would be within your rights to say to them, "please don't call me every time this comes up. What the heck do you think I am going to do that very moment? Write me a note, keep me appraised of her general progress at the end of each day, or every so often, and get off my back about each little incident. When she's willfully disobedient, when she hits someone, when she damages school property, THEN you can call me."

I agree that the pattern is important, and that's part of the info you need to insist upon from the teacher--what's going on when she's talking out of turn or being too rowdy? Is she done w/ her work already and bored? Is she just at the beginning of an assignment and trying to put it off? Has she been sitting a long time and gets rowdy when she's allowed to get up and get in line? All of these things could be happening, each would have a different cause and each would have a different solution. The teacher MUST provide you with this information. If she's not willing to provide you with the background you need to act, then she has no business calling you with her complaints. No fair dumping the problem on you w/o info as well--that IS lazy.

Also, talk to her first-grade teacher in person. These sorts of behavior patterns, if they're truly disruptive behavior, have their roots and indicators, and that teacher will have seen them if they existed. And since she coped w/ your daughter just fine, she may have suggestions for tactics that will work. The first-grade teacher may also have some insight into the second-grade teacher, which might help. Ditto, talk to the third-grade teacher WITHOUT the second-grade teacher around.

Also, feel free to go to the school's guidance counselor and even eventually the principal--not to complain, but to ask for guidance and input, and essentially for the same question you asked us: Is this phoning-me-every-other-day warranted? What do you want of me? What are you expecting me to do because you call?

I understand why they wouldn't let you come and see in secret, and I'd stop obsessing about it. Sometimes your presence in the classroom wears off (if you're really quiet), and your daughter will act as she usually does, so don't rule out a day of observation if they'll allow it.


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RE: Is it just me or....? kind of long but would like your imput.

I think Tally Sue's right. The teacher's feedback is vague. The teacher has to give you something more specific than "She was squirming in her seat".

Meet (in person) with the teacher. Ask for a list of specific items (i.e. talking during class). Then decide together what will be done at the time of offense. (next recess, child is in timeout or something of that nature).

In my opinion, Teacher should not call and say, "She was talking in class this morning", and expect Parent to punish after the fact. I think Teacher should dole out response at the time of the offense, and if the behavior is repeated, then send to principal's office (do they still do that?) and let Parent know.

We did this with DD - meeting with Teacher, discussing the specific issue/behavior. I told teacher that she should ban the next recess (recess is DD's favorite time and there are two each day, so depending on when the offense occurs, she gets timed out on the next recess). Then I also wanted to know about it. Then I made it clear to DD that Teacher and I would be expecting the behavior not to occur. It really only took one timeout to fix the issue.

bottom line:
1) Teacher has to be very specific on the offense
2) Offense has to be dealt with at the time of the offense
3) Teacher and Parent should try to be united; agree up front on what behavior to be worked on, and what the punishment should be (decide on an at-school punishment, and decide on what at-home punishment will be if behavior is repeated)


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RE: Is it just me or....? kind of long but would like your imput.

I was an elementary teacher and peer teacher. My job as a peer teacher was to observe and offer teachers strategies and techniques to help improve situations such as you describe in your posting. Several things concern me in your posting. Does the teacher call or send home a note praising your child for something wonderful that she did that day at school? It takes the same amount of time to write a note about a problem as it does to write a note about something great! What classroom behavior plan does the teacher have in place for the students? Does the teacher provide clear, consistent and equal discipline for every child? When your daughter IS sitting quietly and IS following the rules, what positive reinforcement does she receive from the teacher? My children attend a public school where every teacher must have a classroom discipline plan. Parents and students are given a copy of the plan. The behavior plans are very innovative and positive and helps EVERY student manage their behavior and accept responsibility for their actions. Hopefully there is someone at your daughter's school that can give the teacher some useful strategies in dealing with normal social issues such as talking, etc. Good luck.


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RE: Is it just me or....? kind of long but would like your imput.

I totally agree with Talley Sue. The one thing that concerned me was that this teacher was calling you on the first day of school. Of course there is going to be excitement over the first day; the teacher and student are going to have to get used to each other and that can be a big transition. If she's never had your daughter in class before the beginning of the year, I think that IS going overboard by calling you, when she really didn't even know your daughter. This reminds me of when my nephew started school; on the very first day of kindergarten the teacher suggested that he be transferred. I know he was ADD but he was certainly not swinging from the lights. Perhaps your daughter's teacher doesn't have much patience. I agree, she needs to nip it in the bud as it happens (without humiliating your daughter in front of others).

You also said that when you suggested coming in to talk about the problem, the teacher basically brushed you off and told you to talk to your daughter. If this is really the problem the teacher makes it out to be, I think she would be more than happy to schedule a conference to solve the problem. Perhaps it is the *teacher's* priorities that are out of order.


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RE: Is it just me or....? kind of long but would like your imput.

It could be that your daughter doesn't like second grade. Maybe she was happy in K and 1st, and this year a combination of things - teacher, different classroom, different books, different desks & chairs - just don't work for her. My son LOVED K and was so happy, and since he started 1st he has not been nearly so happy. His teacher awards stickers at the end of the day, and he only gets one 3-4 days a week, never 5. I had a conference with the teacher, and she said he's not disruptive but does talk out of turn. They loose the sticker for talking. After I talked to her, I wasn't worried. I have to sit in a cube all day, and if it wasn't for having chats while getting water or going to the copier, I'd go nuts! I think we sometimes have to give the kids a break, and your teacher doesn't understand.

I can't offer any more advice than what I've seen above, but I do offer you my good wishes and good luck!


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RE: Is it just me or....? kind of long but would like your imput.

It seems to me the teacher does not have control of her
classroom. How long has this person been teaching? I've
been observing a fith grade class as part of my college
studies. I have found that the teacher has total control
of his room. The children in his class know when to talk
and they know when to be quiet. Sounds to me the teacher
does not have the control she needs.


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RE: Is it just me or....? kind of long but would like your imput.

I've just read all the posts and would really like a follow up from mom on how things are going and what happened. Could you post and let us know??


 o Post a Follow-Up

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